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Mia Farrow
January 15, 2014 7:39 AM   Subscribe

It is 20 years since I reported for Vanity Fair the sad, sordid tale of Mia and Woody and Dylan and Soon-Yi and Mia’s other children, caught up in a major tabloid scandal. Today, at 68, Mia Farrow is far removed from that media circus. The mother of 14 children—ranging in age from 43 to 19—10 of whom were adopted and 2 of whom have died, she also has 10 grandchildren. Her focus is no longer acting (she has made more than 40 films) but activism, in Africa, as a UNICEF ambassador and on more than 20 missions of her own, particularly to the Darfur region of Sudan and to neighboring Chad. Coupling the mass killings in Darfur with China’s tacit support of the Sudanese government as well as its veto power in the U.N. Security Council in exchange for a claim on Sudan’s oil, she named the 2008 Beijing Olympics “the genocide Olympics” and triggered an international reaction. Her partner in this crusade has been her son Ronan Farrow, born in 1987, when she was with Allen. Ronan was 10 the first time he went with her to Africa, and after he graduated from college, at 15, he received the title of UNICEF youth spokesperson. Currently a Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Yale Law School at 21 and worked in the State Department from 2009 to 2012, first on the ground in Pakistan and Afghanistan for two years and then as head of the Office of Global Youth Issues.
posted by josher71 (108 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's amazing how people that fucked up get to keep adopting children. That whole article was a red flag bonanza. Thanks for sharing!
posted by Renoroc at 7:56 AM on January 15 [9 favorites]


Mia Farrow deserves to be the story of this story for once. She's a fascinating person with a mad interesting life and a ton of integrity. Great article!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:58 AM on January 15 [9 favorites]


Corroborates what I thought when I first read biographies of Ava Gardner: Frank Sinatra officially gets the Best Ex-Husband Award.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:01 AM on January 15 [6 favorites]


Emphasis on the mad.
posted by spitbull at 8:07 AM on January 15


Agreed, Arsenio and Renoroc.

"Mia has a conscience as big as the Ritz."

Conscience is not the word I would use.

Working in the blindness community, I knew someone who helped the youngest daughter Minh (barely mentioned in the article). Minh went to a school for the blind but was financially destitute independently; there was a brief time when she could have been homeless except for the social workers who worked to find a place connected to the school. The impression I got from them was that Mia was very neglectful now that the children were grown and not cute anymore, and did the adoptions for publicity (not the first time a celebrity has done that).
posted by Melismata at 8:15 AM on January 15 [17 favorites]


[A few comments removed; timshel, I do not know why you seem to feel like posting that link is a hell-or-highwater thing but please do not keep at it, pressing the framing of your deleted post into someone else's by proxy is not cool.]
posted by cortex at 8:20 AM on January 15 [7 favorites]


Regarding the kids: as kids who probably grew up under one heck of a spotlight, it is interesting that (roughly) half seem to be estranged from the rest of the family (and a majority seemed to be divorced). Not an upbringing I think anyone would want.
posted by k5.user at 8:23 AM on January 15 [2 favorites]


And then there's Roman Polanski.

It's always crazy to try and separate an artist from her/his personal life, and to come to terms with liking the work of someone you find morally repugnant. To me there are two important issues:

a) money -- I'd rather not support the financial success of someone like Polanski.

b) the effect on the end user (!) of the art who needs to know that the artist has some fucked-up ideas and values.

Example, John Updike. I HATED his books growing up in part of the way that they treat women. But I was told that he was one of the greatest writers of modern times and so I didn't question that they were "great." Had I known when I first picked them up that he was also viewed for personal and for artistic reasons as a misogynist, I might have been better equipped to question them and even validate my dislike.

Ditto Roman Polanski movies -- I found them creepy. Ditto Woody Allen movies -- I found them creepy, too.

Knowing what I know now, I might show my daughters some Woody Allen movies eventually, but I'll sure as hell talk with them before and after about how women are portrayed (or not) in his films.
posted by jfwlucy at 8:24 AM on January 15 [7 favorites]


Maybe this comment will get removed, idgaf. We need a placeholder in this thread.

THE ARTICLE IS ABOUT MIA FARROW
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:26 AM on January 15 [10 favorites]


Knowing what I know now, I might show my daughters some Woody Allen movies eventually, but I'll sure as hell talk with them before and after about how women are portrayed (or not) in his films.

I would imagine this would be the case for almost any mainstream film, though, right?

Allen hardly has a monopoly on problematic themes for women. (Ironically I think he might be better at portraying women than many other directors people don't consider a red flag; not sure if despite or because of his personal issues.)
posted by aught at 8:29 AM on January 15 [4 favorites]


I really like Mia Farrow but with nearly 400,00 Twitter followers she might be removed from one media circus, but she's certainly smack-dab in the middle of another one.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:30 AM on January 15


THE ARTICLE IS ABOUT MIA FARROW

The post is here because of the Golden Globes dust up. I mean let's be Frank. (Scooby dooby doo)
posted by Trochanter at 8:33 AM on January 15 [4 favorites]


Knowing what I know now, I might show my daughters some Woody Allen movies eventually, but I'll sure as hell talk with them before and after about how women are portrayed (or not) in his films.

Why just his films rather than every film?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:36 AM on January 15 [6 favorites]


Allen has some of the most complex and respectful depictions of women in American film ... I'm baffled by the suggestion that his depiction of women is problematic. That's just false.
posted by jayder at 8:43 AM on January 15 [20 favorites]


Actually, that is a good point. I suppose there's a Streisand effect and that I find them more problematic BECAUSE of his personal issues, so I'm more aware of it.
posted by jfwlucy at 8:44 AM on January 15 [3 favorites]


Sure, Woody Allen figures prominently in The Story of Mia Farrow. But comments that are entirely about how to view Allen's contributions to cinema -- surely those are better suited for some other thread? Or am I just really missing the connection?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:46 AM on January 15 [6 favorites]


I suppose there's a Streisand effect and that I find them more problematic BECAUSE of his personal issues, so I'm more aware of it.

Hell, any action movie or "guys trying to get laid" sex comedy is where you wanna start with this kind of Teaching Moment with one's daughters. The women in Allen's films may not always be noble, but at least they're three-dimensional, rather than being caricatures or tools thrown in in service of a plot.

And I found Allen's past a little hinky too, but the depiction of women in Lars von Trier's movies icks me out way more.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:48 AM on January 15 [3 favorites]


Jayder, googling Allen and misogyny brings up umpteen links, so I'm not going to engage with that because so many other people have.

I brought up cinema and Woody Allen because of the recent kerfuffle relating to Ronan Farrow's tweet, and because of a (now deleted) link to an Onion post referencing that issue that someone posted, so I was following that trail. Not intending a derail.
posted by jfwlucy at 8:49 AM on January 15


Or am I just really missing the connection?

Your point is generally well-taken but Farrow's fame and perception by the general public does owe a fair amount to appearing in a number of Allen's films.
posted by aught at 8:52 AM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Maybe this comment will get removed, idgaf. We need a placeholder in this thread.
THE ARTICLE IS ABOUT MIA FARROW


As such the Vanity Fair article rightfully covers one of the great (and very public) tragedies of her life, involving her creative and romantic partner of 12 years and the children they created, adopted and in one case married. I believe there is plenty of room in this thread to discuss recent allegations made in the VF article about said past events and how they relate to Mia, Woody and our public perception of both. The Satirical Article that Shall Not Be Posted deals with these issues (among others) very poignantly.
posted by timshel at 8:59 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]


What's striking to me is how much Farrow's family has in common with families in the conservative homeschooling/quiverfull movement who also have a lot of children. They seem to have many of the exact same issues. Sometimes those issues are blamed on the religiosity or lack of money, but in the end it just doesn't seem like one family can provide emotionally for massive amounts of children and if you have a lot of money and want to help, you can sponsor organizations that help other people with sane family sizes adopt children.
posted by melissam at 8:59 AM on January 15 [20 favorites]


obligatory Onion link

Boy, I've Really Put You In A Tough Spot, Haven't I?
posted by C.A.S. at 9:00 AM on January 15 [14 favorites]


Yes there is room to discuss recent allegations, but the article is about Mia and the thread should not deteriorate into hurf durf pedo bad.
posted by Melismata at 9:04 AM on January 15


The article is a bit of bait and switch. The first bit is about Mia Farrow, collector of children and passionate advocate for voiceless in Africa. The middle bit is about the children themselves and Farrow bringing them up.

But the final third is pretty much about how poor a parent Allen was, and specifically how he allegedly sexually abused his daughter, abused his son, and used his financial clout to make it go away. It's not really about Farrow at all. The timing of the artlcle, rightly or wrongly, feels like a hit piece in awards season.

The article wants us to side with Farrow without glossing over what a complex and challenging person she is. I think it succeeds, not least because it is largely told from her perspective. However, the one thing that strikes me is that, unlike some celebs, she emphatically didn't adopt healthy children from abroad but sought out vulnerable and disabled kids. It would take only a hardened cynic of accusing her of doing so for selfish reasons. The second striking fact is how many of Farrow's children appear to have turned out relatively normally given the circumstances in which they were born and brought up.

If things are as presented, Allen is a piece of work. If not, Farrow has done a hell of a job poisoning the well.

Also: the article doesn't have photos. I enjoyed the coyness about Ronan Farrow's paternity while the article noted that Farrow continued a relationship with Sinatra even while in a relationship with Allen. Suffice to say Ronan looks more like one of his possible fathers than the other.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:04 AM on January 15 [7 favorites]


At this point the very fact of the continual derailing of any discussion about Mia Farrow to be about Woody, or Frank, or some jerk she's not even connected with even, stands as a potent reminder of the tragedy of her life story, and in a larger sense, the derailing of any story about a woman to be about her relationships with men.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:04 AM on January 15 [31 favorites]


Allen can be a great director, populate his films with intelligent and complex female characters yet still be a dickhead in his private life; just like Farrow can have deep humanistic principles that guide her life while still being a bit of a nut and inconsistent in living up to her own belief system. People are great and weird and wonderful and hypocritical and incomprehensible.
posted by peacay at 9:07 AM on January 15 [24 favorites]


Fun fact: Farrow was on the cover of the first issue of People Magazine. I missed that question in Trivial Pursuit once and still hold it against her.
posted by octothorpe at 9:08 AM on January 15 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: great and weird and wonderful and hypocritical and incomprehensible.
posted by Melismata at 9:08 AM on January 15 [6 favorites]


The first bit is about Mia Farrow, collector of children

Basically animal hoarding except the animal of choice is humans.
posted by jayder at 9:11 AM on January 15 [9 favorites]


Just did an image search on Ronan. Parentage? Scooby Frikkin' DOO!
posted by Trochanter at 9:13 AM on January 15 [2 favorites]


I'm annoyed that VF punted on the Gwyneth Paltrow cover story.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 9:15 AM on January 15 [3 favorites]


People are great and weird and wonderful and hypocritical and incomprehensible.

If there is one collective overriding theme to all of Woody Allen's movies, it is this.
posted by rocket88 at 9:23 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]


I don't have strong feelings about the ongoing Mia/Woody battle-by-proxy.

But for music history's sake, you might enjoy this bit of anger from Dory Previn, who claims Mia stole her husband.
posted by surplus at 9:33 AM on January 15 [10 favorites]


I look at photos of young Mia and think that Ronan looks just like her. The cheekbones, the mouth, the eyes. He is his mother.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:34 AM on January 15 [3 favorites]


I do think it is reasonable to assume this article was already written (or at least outlined), and it is only recent events that made it a publish-now situation...as that's pretty typical. It's not quite as extreme as the large number of obit articles sitting around waiting for people to die, but it's in the same territory, and perfectly reasonable from the perspective of maximizing subscription/advertising revenue (not to mention that any decent PR rep for Mia Farrow who is aware of the author/story would have reached out the same day of the awards ceremony and tried to get this published ASAP; perfectly reasonable from the perspective of being good at your PR job.)
posted by davejay at 9:51 AM on January 15 [4 favorites]


ThatCanadianGirl, There's a ton of Sinatra in there, too. And he seems to have gotten a healthy hunk of that good Sicilian vindictiveness, as well.

PS: I love how Woody's a demon and Frank's a saint. Frank.
posted by Trochanter at 9:55 AM on January 15 [13 favorites]


Isn't that article from November?
posted by kmz at 9:56 AM on January 15 [4 favorites]


That's why I prefer metafilterss.com
posted by ersatz at 10:06 AM on January 15


I don't think anybody comes off well in that article. Sinatra is mentioned in a quote specifically alleging he treated Farrow "badly." Farrow herself doesn't appear to have many "normal"—a word mentioned in her family—relationships with men; even her son uses the word "unusual." And Allen, well, yeah.

I guess I kept reading because I respect Vanity Fair and the writing was decent enough and I expected that eventually the article would get around to something more than celebrity voyeurism. It kinda doesn't.
posted by cribcage at 10:09 AM on January 15 [3 favorites]


it is only recent events that made it a publish-now situation

The Vanity Fair article was published four months ago.
posted by neroli at 10:11 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]


PS: I love how Woody's a demon and Frank's a saint. Frank.

Eh, I’m not nominating Frank for sainthood anytime soon. I think you’d have to be Best Husband instead of Best Ex-Husband for that. I don’t know why he was that way. Maybe he felt some need to take all the guilt for the failed marriages on himself? I’m not the best Sinatra Armchair Psychologist out there.

All’s I know is, Grandma thought he was a bad influence on her beloved Dean Martin.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:24 AM on January 15 [4 favorites]


I liked the part where Frank sent "his men" in a "sedan" to pick her up to --- what, break Woody's legs? --- no, give her some numbers in three cities.

Mia Farrow is a kook.
posted by jayder at 10:47 AM on January 15


While everyone's worried about what kind of men Mia's coupled up with, let's remember it takes two to tango. There's obviously a boatload of issues with her to correspond with Woody's and Frank's, and no matter what kind of dad Woody is/was, there's some unhealthy emeshment between Mia and some of these kids.

The whole thing is a mess
posted by C.A.S. at 10:58 AM on January 15 [5 favorites]


... involving her creative and romantic partner of 12 years and the children they created, adopted and in one case married.

No. Farrow adopted Soon-Yi at age 8 with then husband Andre Previn in 1978. The couple divorced in 1979 and Farrow began dating Allen in 1980.
posted by Clustercuss at 11:14 AM on January 15 [2 favorites]


I tend to be skeptical about just about anything that Orth writes for VF, because of her coverage of Michael Jackson's trials, in which she seems pretty biased against him. When he died, she published a short blurb to the effect of, hey, he never sued her for libel, so there.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:44 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]


> Farrow adopted Soon-Yi at age 8 with then husband Andre Previn in 1978. The couple divorced in 1979 and Farrow began dating Allen in 1980."

So he began dating his quasi-step-daughter, whom he had been raising since she was 10? Creepy.

Ronan put it best, as mentioned in the article:
Last year on Father’s Day, Ronan tweeted, “Happy father’s day—or as they call it in my family, happy brother-in-law’s day.”

posted by I am the Walrus at 12:19 PM on January 15 [11 favorites]


Mia Farrow is a kook.

Why? Because she lives her life on her own terms and not by the dictates of some PR flack or focus group like the rest of the people in that industry?

Or because she reminds the rest of the world of ugly truths: that there are children who fall beneath the cracks because the rest of the world wants to pretend how wonderful things are going -- or that their idols really don't deserve all the false praise they are getting?

Her brood seems normal and no worse than other families -- and a lot stronger in many other regards.

Farrow has guts like very few people in that business and has had a more meaningful and exciting life than any of her detractors ever will.

Gotta admire any person whose very essence throws cold water on a judgemental person's smug face...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 12:43 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


Ronan Farrow is the biggest hypocrite of the bunch, always being holier than though on developing world issues while living off Cecil Rhodes' dirty money.
posted by w0mbat at 12:45 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Frank Sinatra officially gets the Best Ex-Husband Award.

Yeah, I found that so sweet of him. I wish every woman with a stalker could have a charming Mafia-tied ex-husband they were still friendly with like that.
posted by corb at 12:59 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


Or because she reminds the rest of the world of ugly truths: that there are children who fall beneath the cracks because the rest of the world wants to pretend how wonderful things are going

Pretty interesting choice of woulds considering how many of her own children seem to have fallen through the cracks - Frankie-Minh, Lark, Lark's children, etc.

The lesson seems to be that rich famous people can do whatever they want with children and we'll pretend it's AOK because they are celebrities and their intentions are good. Mia didn’t want the media to know. She didn’t want Woody’s name tarnished. In any non-celebrity household these things would have resulted in CPS getting involved.
posted by melissam at 1:13 PM on January 15 [9 favorites]


To me, Maureen Orth has no credibility, anyway.

Her brood seems normal and no worse than other families -- and a lot stronger in many other regards.

Honestly, I don't see how anyone with even a passing knowledge of this family history would call it normal.
posted by girlmightlive at 1:15 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


And then there's Roman Polanski.

Well, since Roman Polanski has been brought up in the context of Mia Farrow...
posted by snottydick at 1:36 PM on January 15 [11 favorites]


Great piece, snottydick.

And about the Orth piece ... The more I think about it, the more it seems like a hit piece masquerading as hagiography. It seems full of little digs against Farrow ... The way the info about her affairs with Roth and Havel was conveyed, the quote by Roth where he referred to her "compassion as big as the Ritz" which seems like a weird little dig, just lots of stuff that leaves a not-very-favorable impression by design.
posted by jayder at 2:01 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


It's kind of a shame they didn't have a time machine or something in 1980 and Mia or Woody could have posted an ask.metafilter question and then gotten barraged with four dozen Dump The Motherfucker Already replies. It would have been epic.
posted by bukvich at 2:23 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


I haven't seen Blue Jasmine, but the VF article implies that it's a veiled re-telling of the Soon Yi scandal. Isn't it actually a re-telling of A Streetcar Named Desire? I'm sure that's what I read when it came out.
posted by janey47 at 2:30 PM on January 15


the VF article implies that it's a veiled re-telling of the Soon Yi scandal

That is a very liberal interpretation on Orth's part.
posted by anazgnos at 2:43 PM on January 15


it is interesting that (roughly) half seem to be estranged from the rest of the family (and a majority seemed to be divorced). Not an upbringing I think anyone would want.

Okay, but when you read about how some of the kids were situatuated before she adopted them, that upbringing seems like something people would want even less.
posted by onlyconnect at 2:45 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


The art versus the artist's behavior is a real conundrum for me. So many great Allen films and yet, ick. No, worse than ick. Then there's the brilliance that is Carnage and again, because of Polanski's misdeeds I hated to recommend it to anyone. Sometimes there's even a simple brutal guitar riff that I used to love but now leaves me with a sour taste. Or in speculative fiction there's Orson Scott Card, John C Wright, Dan "Kill all Arabs" Simmons, Harlan "Hands" Ellison, etc. There is a constant battle for me between enjoying the art and not wanting to reward the behavior. I don't have an answer and I don't know if I ever will. Thank the spaghetti monster that Cheney has never created anything worthwhile so I can be unhinged in my hate for that sorry pencil-dicked meat sack.
posted by Ber at 2:57 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


Orson Scott Card, John C Wright, Dan "Kill all Arabs" Simmons, Harlan "Hands" Ellison, etc.

In a weird way I almost place Ellison beyond judgement; as if he were some kind of demonic imp rather than a person I can judge on my terms. Less fancifully it may be because for all his infuriating actions, none of them rise to a certain critical level of genuine evil. The grabbing incident seemed to me like a moment of very bad judgement, of thinking it was an amusing transgression permitted within their relationship when he clearly should have known better. The fact that he acknowledges this and has apologized publicly and privately, if in his own way which doesn't admit of a very penitent demeanor, is at least somewhat ameliorative in my valueless opinion. I'm actually more bothered by his mystifying behavior WRT The Last Dangerous Visions. Sure he's kind of an asshole in a lot of ways, but he's very fiercely supportive of good causes and I really don't know of anything else he's done that puts him in the same class as, y'know, an actual bad guy.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:21 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


The art versus the artist's behavior is a real conundrum for me. So many great Allen films and yet, ick. No, worse than ick.

What part of Allen's life is ick/worse than ick?
posted by jayder at 5:19 PM on January 15


I look at photos of young Mia and think that Ronan looks just like her. The cheekbones, the mouth, the eyes. He is his mother.

You weren't kidding. I just saw the pic on the Vanity Fair site. It's like Rosemary's Baby all over again.
posted by bluefly at 6:02 PM on January 15


What part of Allen's life is ick/worse than ick?

Woody? That you?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:08 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


I just got out of the rabbit hole that is a googling of "Dan Simmons Islam". Holy fuck, there must be some deep work of psychology that explains just how very successful people lose all fucking touch with reality. Woody and Mia might be an excellent place to start.
posted by fatbird at 7:09 PM on January 15


No, seriously, I'd like to know whether it is the Soon-Yi thing? That would impact your enjoyment of his films or your regard for his body of work?
posted by jayder at 7:25 PM on January 15


The most interesting figure in this story, in my opinion, is Soon-Yi, whose relationship with Woody Allen has now lasted more than twice as long as his relationship with her adoptive mother.

It's also interesting that a few months ago, Mia Farrow's brother John Charles Farrow, who is a year younger than she, was sentenced to ten years for child molestation.

As with many child sex abuse cases, it's difficult to distinguish what happened from the surrounding hysteria. From the article I think that an enraged Mia definitely coached and manipulated her children against Woody over years. But that doesn't mean he was completely innocent, does it?
posted by knoyers at 7:25 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


I read the article. Grokked it.

I read the comments. Now I feel like I haven't read the article.

Sometimes I don't get you, Metafilter.
posted by mudpuppie at 7:36 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


This question: What part of Allen's life is ick/worse than ick?

and this question: I'd like to know whether it is the Soon-Yi thing? That would impact your enjoyment of his films or your regard for his body of work?

are two completely separate questions.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:40 PM on January 15


jayder, did you read the article? It is written to strongly suggest that Allen molested his 6 year old adopted daughter, Dylan, over a period of time, including a particular incident in an attic, and that that's why he was refused unsupervised visitation with Dylan.
posted by onlyconnect at 7:42 PM on January 15


Oh. So Mia Farrow isn't dead?
posted by Colonel Panic at 8:12 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


The most interesting figure in this story, in my opinion, is Soon-Yi, whose relationship with Woody Allen has now lasted more than twice as long as his relationship with her adoptive mother.

The documentary Wild Man Blues is the best public look at their relationship that I know of, and squares with what I've heard from a number of film critic types: that she pretty much bosses him around and he seems to appreciate it.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:40 PM on January 15


That would impact your enjoyment of his films or your regard for his body of work?

In other cases, it might not matter, but I find Allen's films totally inseparable from the persona, which now includes both Soon-Yi and (IMHO) credible allegations by Dylan. Allen's work is very characteristic--to my mind, he's been doing much the same schtick for his whole career. Like watching Al Pacino in a movie and being unable to see the character because all you can see is Al, except that Al is now also this weird, gross skeeve.

Is there a comparable profile of Allen or Soon-yi out there?
posted by fatbird at 9:10 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


jayder, did you read the article? It is written to strongly suggest that Allen molested his 6 year old adopted daughter, Dylan, over a period of time, including a particular incident in an attic, and that that's why he was refused unsupervised visitation with Dylan.
posted by onlyconnect at 7:42 PM on January 15
[+] [!]


There's also the fact that mental health professionals who examined the child think she was coached by Farrow to say those things.

It seems really weird, to me, to condemn Allen and fret over whether it's okay to enjoy his work based on a completely unsubstantiated allegation like this.
posted by jayder at 9:13 PM on January 15


Is there a comparable profile of Allen or Soon-yi out there?

There are interviews around - here's one.
posted by mdn at 9:33 PM on January 15


It seems really weird, to me, to condemn Allen and fret over whether it's okay to enjoy his work based on a completely unsubstantiated allegation like this.

But he definitely did marry his stepdaughter. Or at the very least, the sister of his children who he has known since she was ten. That is worlds of creepy and fucked up, even if they are still married.
posted by misfish at 9:35 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


I feel grossed out by Allen now (and before). I'm not fretting over enjoying his work. I can't enjoy his work because I can't separate it from his actions, because Allen is so present in his work.

There's also the fact that mental health professionals who examined the child think she was coached by Farrow to say those things.

Those same professionals far exceeded their brief in the case, and informed Allen of their conclusions before they even told the prosecutor who engaged them. The judge in the case consider the report's reliability to be suspect. Allen isn't without influence in the area, it would seem.

The allegations aren't proven. But they're not unsustantiated either. As the Satanic Panic of the 80s showed us, kids who deliver false accusations have a strong tendency to recant once they're adults and understand what happened. Dylan is certain it happened.
posted by fatbird at 9:54 PM on January 15


The Vanity Fair article references a 1997 Connecticut Magazine article about the chief prosecutor on the molestation case against Allen. That article has been reproduced here. It's pretty interesting reading, especially if you're operating under the assumption that the child was coached into making those accusations.
posted by palomar at 10:00 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


The more I think about it, the more I believe that Roman Polanski's real brilliance as a director on Rosemary's Baby was persuading Mia Farrow to play herself. Not the Manic Pixie Lady Bountiful persona she has so successfully presented to the world for the past five decades, but rather the actual Mia Farrow: needy, whiny, manipulative and paranoid.

That tweeting on Sunday night was the work of a lunatic.
posted by La Cieca at 10:04 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]



That tweeting on Sunday night was the work of a lunatic.

@miafarrow Time to grab some icecream & switch over to #GIRLS

@miafarrow Nite all

You set a pretty low bar for lunacy. But most of the comments in this thread have not made much sense to me.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:42 PM on January 15 [8 favorites]


But he definitely did marry his stepdaughter. Or at the very least, the sister of his children who he has known since she was ten. That is worlds of creepy and fucked up, even if they are still married.

What's with this kind of use of the word creepy? What does it mean? Do you mean "wrong"?
posted by jayder at 11:49 PM on January 15


What's with this kind of use of the word creepy?

This is kind of a pet peeve of mind, so I'm going to chime in here if it's okay.

I honestly think that word "creepy" means "it makes me feel uncomfortable." It's not illegal and it may not be really immoral, but the person using the word "creepy" just doesn't like to think about it. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people whose reaction such discomfort is to demand that someone, somewhere should magically swoop down and make the world a nicer, more comfortable place.

On a more trivial level, you can see this attitude when the subject of theater, movie or concert etiquette comes up: the person relating the story is still fuming over the jerk next to him who was texting during the movie, or talking during the play, or standing up and dancing during the concert. But when you ask, "So did you ask the person to stop," you'll very often get an answer along the lines of, "No, of course not. It's not my business to teach these people manners. They shouldn't let that kind of people into the theater, or they should instantly remove them."

Back to "creepy." What seems to be going on here is, "I would find it disgusting to be married to my mother's ex (who was perhaps a parent-like presence in the house when I was growing up) and so when I hear about it happening to someone else, it makes me feel uneasy, and I don't like feeling uneasy, so somebody had better make it stop."

Instead of taking agency for their feelings, these complainers are basically asking the universe to arrange time and space to their satisfaction.
posted by La Cieca at 12:12 AM on January 16 [4 favorites]


oneirodynia

My mistake: I should have said first thing Monday morning.
posted by La Cieca at 12:29 AM on January 16


What's with this kind of use of the word creepy?

This is kind of a pet peeve of mind, so I'm going to chime in here if it's okay.

I honestly think that word "creepy" means "it makes me feel uncomfortable."


This is not what I mean by creepy. To a certain extent, I do mean wrong, jayder, but not just wrong. I mean it looks like a violation of social norms that indicates a possible deeper, hidden wrong. I mean a red flag. I mean, that guy seems dodgy, and I would not want to be alone with him, or allow him unfettered access to vulnerable people.

(I should note that I think the allegations about him molesting his 7 year old daughter are credible, if not provable at this point.)
posted by misfish at 1:18 AM on January 16 [8 favorites]


[Folks, turning this thread about Farrow into a debate about the meaning of the word creepy may be getting deraillish. Consider if that is what you want to be doing?]
posted by jessamyn at 7:31 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]


When I see or use the word "creepy" in this context, I think of synonyms such as "unsettling," "disturbing," or "repugnant." "Wrong" may be casting too broad a shadow, as may "immoral," but they're probably hovering somewhere in the extended family. I think the 21st-century definition we may be looking for is "Typical of the cations and attitudes of a 'creeper.'" (Previous MeFi threads on the concept of "creepers" and "creeping" here and here."

My impression of Mia Farrow is that she had a very sad, stressful, and lonely youth, and probably felt like her mostly absent parents thought most of their kids' problems could be solved with money, until the money ran out and they were on their own. So, while it's possible (no way to guess) that some of the at-risk children she adopted might have done better in other situations being supported by her monetary donations, I can understand why her own background would make her feel that her personal involvement was better. There's no way to say it without sounding callous, and OF COURSE we'd all prefer a world where every at-risk child gets the ideal living situation and a perfect outcome, but given where they started, and given the state of things in the world, I really don't see the mixed, mostly decent results as being a scathing indictment.

As far as her career goes, looking over her filmography I don't see anything where she's really been challenged or cast against type or stretched, but then again she'd probably be the first to say that the craft of acting was never really a passion. It's just the best job her life up to that point had prepared her for.

Regardless of what we, the general public, believe is true or not, I'm glad I still live in a world where some mothers believe their seven-year-old daughters when they report sexual abuse.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:10 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]


Or in speculative fiction there's Orson Scott Card, John C Wright, Dan "Kill all Arabs" Simmons, Harlan "Hands" Ellison, etc.

All godawful writers, so you won't miss much apart perhaps from some of Ellison's work, vastly overrated though it is.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:08 AM on January 16


An Open Letter from Dylan Farrow (may be triggering)
Dylan Farrow's Story
posted by gladly at 1:52 PM on February 1 [3 favorites]


gladly, that editorial is crushing. Jesus Christ.

There's also the fact that mental health professionals who examined the child think she was coached by Farrow to say those things. It seems really weird, to me, to condemn Allen and fret over whether it's okay to enjoy his work based on a completely unsubstantiated allegation like this.

I don't think it's weird. I think all of your comments in this thread have been incredibly strange, though.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:33 PM on February 1


"An Open Letter" mefi thread
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:39 PM on February 1


Yeah I don't really see how the link in this post and the link in that post cover the same ground. The editorial is pretty groundbreaking and probably deserves its own FPP. Is there precedence here? Has a child sexual abuse survivor ever been this public against a person this famous?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:48 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


"An Open Letter" mefi thread

Deleted, unfortunately.
posted by lalex at 5:49 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Came to MeFi seeking smart commentary on the "Open Letter" and found this thread (and the deleted one). Found a lot of good comments on Farrow and her kids.

Factlet: The statute of limitations for child sexual abuse in New York is 5 years if I'm reading that right. That seems wrong.

I can't think of a letter like that in a media outlet as prominent as the NY Times.
posted by artlung at 7:49 PM on February 1


I think this is worthy of a new post, if someone can figure out a way to frame it. Otherwise, I'll say what I have to say here:

Finally! Finally, a survivor comes out to the world and says, "Hey, stop pretending this shit didn't happen. It happened. Deal with it. No, seriously. Deal with it."

Bravo to that. Screw silence. Screw this kind of thing.
posted by brina at 9:35 PM on February 1 [3 favorites]


Man, that Daily Beast article had one or two reasonable observations -- Moses in effect had switched sides and stated that he had been "brainwashed" at Frog Hollow and had gotten back in touch with Allen and Soon-Yi (though the comment section notes that this statement isn't sourced or supported elsewhere, so may not even be true), and Farrow supported Roman Polanski despite his issues with an underage girl. However, the bulk of it made me want to vomit. Oh these men, who think they know and can look into the hearts of other men because they share a great love for film or art or cars, when really they don't know them at all, they're just reading the surface and thinking they see everything. This, for example:

On more than one occasion, when I was planning to interview Woody, I found I had to schedule around mornings when he’d walk his kids to school, or attend parent-teacher conferences. The normalcy of his domestic life was somehow surprising to me. I’ve not spent a lot of time with his kids, but I’ve met them on a few occasions where I’ve received the cursory “hello,” as they went about their business doing girl stuff with their friends. The only parent-child tensions I’ve been privy to are that his girls think their father’s mean for not letting them have a dog, and that he’s an idiot for not knowing how to work a computer. Lest anyone accuse me of being in Woody’s pocket, I’ll confess that I side with his kids on both counts.

This paragraph -- the assumptions that Weide is clearly making from it based out people's outward behavior and what it all means -- really upset me. I don't want to elaborate more out of respect for the daughters, but Weide is so, so wrong to assume that he knows anything about them or their lives from the "normal" encounters that he, a complete outsider, has had with them that it makes me think he is rather an idiot. And this:

During an unsupervised moment, Woody allegedly took Dylan into the attic and, shall we say, “touched her inappropriately.”

Hey Robert B. Weide, with your weird mockery and inappropriate sarcasm toward molestation accusations, you seem to lack any sense of, shall we say, "human decency."

I mean, Weide is claiming to be fair and disinterested here, but he isn't really objective and he doesn't really give facts from the other side. Like, in her first piece for Vanity Fair about the Allen case, published in 1992, Maureen Orth had at least 25 on-the-record interviews—with sources both named and unnamed—attesting that Allen was “completely obsessed” with Dylan: “He could not seem to keep his hands off her,” Orth wrote. Moreover Allen came to agree that his actions toward Dylan were inappropriate and agreed to see a therapist about them. Weide turns his back on all that and whistles a little tune.

I thought Dylan's piece was very powerful, and I believe her.
posted by onlyconnect at 9:53 PM on February 1 [7 favorites]


"An Open Letter From Dylan Farrow" mefi thread
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:01 PM on February 1


An Open Letter From Dylan Farrow get it while its hot.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:01 PM on February 1


There were doctors willing to gaslight an abused child. - Dylan Farrow writes an op-ed about Woody Allen
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:19 PM on February 1


womp, got sent here because my thread got deleted, didn't realise it'd been reposted twice before. (So AHaWO, some of us tried to make a FPP, but it didn't work.)

Seconding everyone else sending kudos to Dylan. I can't imagine the decision to be public about her experience being particularly easy to make.
posted by divabat at 10:29 PM on February 1


I thought Dylan's piece was very powerful, and I believe her.

I always have. I always admired Farrow for standing up for her and protecting her. I always thought Allen's marriage to his legal daughter just underlined how utterly unscrupulous he is. I've never understood the longstanding trivialization of Farrow and lionizations of Allen.

And I haven't paid a dime to see an Allen movie since these stories first broke.
posted by bearwife at 10:30 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


I think it's a shame the open letter apparently doesn't warrant a new thread.
posted by Corduroy at 10:33 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Corduroy: "I think it's a shame the open letter apparently doesn't warrant a new thread."

Yeah, a Metatalk should probably be started; taz and restless_nomad are being a bit trigger happy, I think. This post and its article are about Mia Farrow (that's all the title is, even!), and the first-person account from Dylan Farrow is clearly about herself and her situation. They're related, but radically different topics.
posted by barnacles at 10:36 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


I thought that Daily Beast article was pretty much a hit piece. Robert B. Weide just came across as obsequious and odious.


the man of twists and turns, instead of just linking to 4 separate deleted threads, why not just actually comment or take it to Meta?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:45 PM on February 1


That open letter was no fun to read. Has the civil statue of limitations also run out? Because it's OJ Simpson deja vu: I think if I were on a jury being asked if I was certain of Allen's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, I'm not, but if I had to say who I thought was more likely to be telling the truth in a civil case, well, that's a different matter, and I believe her more than him.
posted by tyllwin at 10:55 PM on February 1


This post and its article are about Mia Farrow - The second half of the Vanity Fair article are about Dylan, Soon-Yi and Allen.
posted by Ardiril at 11:02 PM on February 1


MeTa
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:25 PM on February 1


I thought that Daily Beast article was pretty much a hit piece. Robert B. Weide just came across as obsequious and odious.

Yeah, who has more to gain here? A woman who, up until now, seems to have been trying desperately to leave the past behind her, or a man whose career as a documentary filmmaker relies on getting his subjects to agree to let him film them?
posted by snickerdoodle at 6:19 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


I think I'm with tyllwin on this: Dylan's letter is persuasive, and other adults' accounts of Woody Allen's behavior make me think that he very likely would have abused her. In the absence of further evidence I don't think I would declare that he's guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but ... yeah, I believe he abused her.

I'm another person who would describe his (alleged) behavior as creepy. What I mean is that he (allegedly) did a lot of things that are unusual when performed by a parent, but seem reasonable if we assume that he is a child abuser. Taken individually, these actions are compatible with his innocence. Taken in aggregate, they point towards his guilt. The repeated need to question his actions makes me feel alarmed, and I use the word "creepy" to describe that inchoate sense of alarm.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:11 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


This article makes a devastating suggestion: Woody Allen’s many confessions haven’t prepared us for the worst accusation yet
Allen’s characters are compulsively self-critical; in his early film works, in which Allen doppelgangers made frequent appearances, these central characters confess fears, flaws and misbehaviors with abandon. [...]

What if all that openness, that willing confession to sin and weakness that’s Allen’s trademark style, is really just a mask of another kind? If the faults Allen has acknowledged in himself — and they are myriad, and draw us closer — are just a front for deeper and more monstrous ones, from which we would, inevitably, flinch?
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:42 PM on February 4


Groping for a defense: Woody Allen Speaks Out

also

Re-Watching Woody Allen
The newly-chilling themes that you can see throughout his movies
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:38 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]


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